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Music Text

Libretto by Anne-May Krüger, after Rudyard Kipling (G)


S,M,Bar,M/actress; vla.vlc.db

Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
FoyerBühne Musiktheater, Linz
Sabine Sterken, director
Company: Landestheater Linz


The Cat actress (Mezzo-soprano voice)
The Woman Mezzo-soprano
The Man Baritone
The Child/The Dog/The Cow/The Horse Soprano
(Dog, Cow and Horse are also played/spoken by the players of viola, cello and double bass)

At the time when everything is still wild and nameless, man and woman meet – hungry, cold, homeless. They decide to brave the wilderness as a pair and move into a cave together. They kindle a fire, and the smell of the food they prepare on it leads the wild dog to them. For a bone, he subordinates himself to the humans and guards their home henceforth. The smell of hay, which serves as padding, and of clover, out of which medicine is prepared, entices a horse and a cow to serve from then on as riding animal and milk provider. All this is disdainfully observed by the cat: “I go my own way, and all places are the same to me.” Yet, it is difficult to remain wild when the cave beckons with warmth and with the scent of cow’s milk! The cat plays up to the initially dismissive woman, and wangles the promise from her: If she says something good about the cat three times, then the cat is allowed in the cave, by the fire, and gets milk to drink every day ...

The woman does not expect to have to keep her promise. But when the crying of the newborn baby will not end, the the cat’s purring helps. The cat earns a second praise in that it teaches the man and woman, who are increasingly worn down by the routines of life together, how to dance. But then the dog, horse, and cow rebel against their yoke – too monotonous is the indeed safe but rather bland life entirely without wildness. The humans react with panic: Without the horse, no hunting; without the dog, no security; without the cow, no milk ... The cat pricks up its ears: No milk? It convinces the other animals to occasionally give free rein to lustful frenzy (in the form of wild instrumental solos) and still enjoy the benefits of a tamed existence in community. With this in mind, the man and women let the animals have their way and from now on also live according to the cat’s example: tame, but also sometimes wild.


Comic, Poetic



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